Why the Free Bird Sings – waterglobe

So, if you didn’t have a monitor and couldn’t see this snowglobe, you could ask me to describe it.

Close your eyes and imagine: there is a beautiful tiny birdcage with a steampunk feel, brass bands and hardware, tucked inside a snowglobe. On the outside of the cage, perched on the open door, is a mechanical duck. At least I think it’s a duck. It’s some kind of waterfowl. If you peer inside the birdcage itself, you’ll see a little swing, but wait … there’s a man on the swing. He doesn’t appear to be unhappy, in fact, if I could read the mind of a teeny tiny man, I’d say he’s listening to something classical on a Victrola. Did I mention there’s a Victrola?

Or, as one viewer said, “I get it: you have a mechanical duck with a pet person.”

Yeah, that’s about it.

Here is the interior of the globe (two views), take a quick peek and see if this is what you imagined. Truth is, I love the way it turned out, but I had no idea until I finished it how it would look. I’ll tell you how my creative process worked. It’s the equivalent of writing a murder mystery and having your characters tell you who dunnit, instead of writing it as planned.

So my creative process leads me as much as I lead it; and I’m a happy follower sometimes when I surprise myself.

It started with a birdcage and the thought: how would a steampunk birdcage look? And I added an elaborate base, brass and hardware, then a weathervane made from a clock hand, just to balance the piece and draw interest to the top as well as base.  I thought putting a bird inside the cage was too easy, so I decided to build a metal bird and let him be outside, so he had a choice. The bird came together well, and I found watch pieces that were left and right shapes that reminded me of wings, not bad. I found a metal bead for the body and a brass bead for the head. Nothing I had was right for the beak, so I fumbled around and decided to cut a cone-shape in half to make it work.

But the cone-shape didn’t look like a beak to me. Not at all. It said “gas mask.” Now, I don’t stop and ask myself: why would a mechical bird need a gas mask, instead I decided to go all out and add aviator goggles.  Nice touch if I do say  myself. (And remember, this whole sculpture is 2.5 inches tall, so when I can make bird goggles that are a quarter of an inch tall, it’s a good day.)

Then I take a look at the cage … seems so empty. But I don’t want another bird, and suddenly it strikes me, “why not put a person inside the cage, and have the bird outside?” Okay … but I have to work to get a tiny man who doesn’t look unhappy, because that’s not the point, he’s not a prisoner, he’s just in the cage by choice.  It hits me: what would make me happy sitting inside an open bird cage? Music! So I add the tiny gramophone and I’m pleased.

The globe base is embellished with metal feathers, and I have a plate engraved. As a nod to the great Maya Angelou, “Why the Free Bird Sings.”

Here’s a slide show including the finished globe with a shower of metallic dust sparkling down on my mechanical duck and his pet person. Why not?

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